The two species of rat most likely to be a problem are Norway rats (brown rat) and roof rats (black rat). Rats typically live in urban or suburban areas if access to food sources, water, and shelter can be acquired. Both pests are nocturnal and hide in their nests during the day. 

Preferring to eat around homes, businesses, and restaurants, the small pests an get inside through cracks and holes in the around the roof, on your walls, and on foundations.. Other avenues, such as open doors and windows, floor drains, fan openings, and previously infested packages of merchandise, also allow the critters to set up permanent residence indoors.

Norway rats are excellent swimmers and can enter through the sewers. Both species are climbers. Roof rats climbing abilities can scale trees, drain pipes, and siding to get onto your roof and inside your home.

Where Do Rats Live inside the House?

Rats will build their nests and live in the house where people are not present.
The top five most common rat nest locations inside include:

  1. attics
  2. wall cavities 
  3. under eaves
  4. basements or cellars
  5. crawlspaces

Where Do Rats in Your Yard?

Norway rats are burrowers that will build nests in vegetation, along patios, under foundations or concrete slabs.
Roof rats live high above the ground. In the yard, residents may spot roof rat nests in trees, firewood piles, shrubs, and vine.

Rats are opportunist. They will also nest under your car hood

rat nest in car engine

What Does a Rat's Nest Look Like?

The nest may resemble a messy ball-shaped structure or a heap of various materials. A rat nest typically consists of a collection of materials loosely piled up in a hidden location. These materials can include shredded paper, fabric, insulation, leaves, twigs, and other debris found in their surrounding.

Homeowners find rat nests in enclosed areas like crawlspaces, between walls, in attics, under porches, or in boxed-in plumbing. In outdoor areas surrounding homes, things such as debris piles, yard water, old furniture, ponds, trees, and garbage dumps are inviting to rats, as well.

Photos of Rats' Nests

rat nest from insulation rat nest

How to Find a Rat Nest


If you have noticed signs of rats, how does Critter Control find the rat nest? 

  1. Listen for sounds. Rats are nocturnal so homeowners will hear them at night. Our technicians rely on your experience to start our inspection. 
  2. Look for signs of rat activity like droppings, gnaw marks, rat tracks, and greasy smudges on along the wall. Rats do not typically travel far from their nest. 
  3. Investigate near the rat signs. Rats nest in hidden, dark spaces. Areas typically investigated include behind appliances, attics, basements, or in empty boxes. 
  4. Follow the odor. Rats have a distinct mustky odor. 

Rat Control & Rat Nest Removal

Effective rat control requires more than a few rat traps. You need to eliminate why the rats came to your property, remove access to your house, and finally exterminate the exisitng pest population.

Rats usually only live to about six months of age in the wild. They reach sexual maturity at around two to three months old. Pregnancies last between 20 and 30 days and typically result in 6 to 12 offspring. Though the rodents possess short lifespans, the rapid rate at which they reproduce, coupled with short gestation periods and large litter sizes, allows rats to continue as formidable pests.

Easily accessible sources of food will bring rats to your yard. Rats are omnivores and can eat almost anything. Rats can find food at bird feeders, pet food left outside, and garbage cans.

Inadequately sealed garages and poor sanitation practices foster ideal conditions for these pesky critters. Appropriate handling of food materials and waste helps deter rats from nesting. People concerned about rat infestations should attempt to rat-proof their homes.

Through exclusion and proper prevention, homeowners can eliminate troublesome rats from building nests inside and around homes.

To begin, openings of 1/4 inch or larger should be blocked with hardware cloth, floor drains should be covered with grates, window screens must fit firmly, and food products should be stored in metal cans with correctly tailored lids.

To exterminate already established invasions, homeowners may utilize traps, bait stations, electronic devices, and cats or dogs to stave off advancements of rodent populations. However, the use of such tactics may not entirely eliminate infestations. Concerned residents should contact the professional pest removal experts at Critter Control to take care of any rat issues before they get out of hand.

Learn more about rat removal.

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